The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy intends to turn to batteries as a solution to renewable electricity production curtailments over the growing grid insufficiency.
Though curtailments are still low in Greece, there is a growing concern that soon they may cause more serious problems for green megawatts producers, as the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy system will rise to 78%, according to the latest National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).
Batteries can solve this issue, and investors have embraced them so far as stand-alone plants. However, they are worried that they will increase the cost when included in mature renewable projects that are ready to connect to the grid.
There are 17 GW of renewable energy projects that obtained connection terms and are to be connected to the grid. Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) estimates that every 200 MW of renewables with storage frees up 100 MW of network capacity. Therefore, the inclusion of batteries in existing investments is considered a must both by the grid operator and the ministry.
However, investors still need to be convinced. Representatives of large companies participating in the Renewable and Storage Forum conference yesterday in Athens warned that higher projects costs from adding batteries is a serious concern. Another question is whether it makes more sense to participate in auctions and lock a specific price or to have the plants participate freely in the wholesale market.
Even so, the ministry aims to hold new auctions for battery-equipped renewable energy projects in 2024, planning to offer 2 GW to investors who already have connection terms. The added investments will have a strict timetable and must be completed by December 31, 2024.
Storage obligatory in future auctions
Deputy Minister Alexandra Sdoukou specified that, in the following renewables auctions, there will be a stricter power injection limitation than before, together with a requirement to add batteries. “These requirements will be known beforehand and investors will be able to judge whether their project will be viable and adjust their offer accordingly,” Sdoukou pointed out.
Based on this, the ministry is taking a tough stance concerning the inclusion of batteries. In essence, it is telling investors to add them or risk higher curtailments.
Details of the new auctions are yet to be announced, since the ministry is still handling some technical details. Minister of Environment and Energy Thodoros Skylakakis said the plan would be presented soon and that companies would be called to make their choice.